EDITORIAL: Inclusion in public, exclusion in private

Those in charge of hiring need to park their prejudices at the door

Moving to a new city and country as an immigrant is often a challenging experience in Greater Victoria. Just ask staff and volunteers at the Inter-Cultural Association, who among other things help newcomers get settled and find their feet.

To be sure, the ICA and various other organizations do their best to make the transition smoother for individuals and families who may not have a firm grasp of spoken or written English. But there can still be day to day difficulties that leave families wondering whether they made the right choice for their new home.

One family written up in the 2017 version of Victoria’s Vital Signs, the wonderful community research project undertaken each year by the Victoria Foundation, has endured frustrating times since arriving from Libya in 2003. While we have not spoken to these people, it’s logical to assume they sought to escape the chaotic living conditions under dictator Muammar Gaddafi and build a life in a safer, more inclusive country.

Fairouz Abdullah and her husband, Achmed, who have four children and are Muslim, are well educated with skill sets that would appear to be very transferable. She has a sociology degree, years of teaching experience and speaks English well, but has only been able to find part-time, low-level work. He has a PhD in computer engineering but is underemployed and has yet to find work in his field, even in the emerging tech mini-hub of Victoria.

Why do some companies find it difficult to hire immigrants who, given a chance, could become solid employees and perhaps even help educate fellow employees about other cultures? Is it religious or racial discrimination? Harsh words in our “welcoming” Canada and Victoria. Is it lack of patience or willingness to take a little extra time to train a new immigrant who might still be learning to communicate?

We wonder how often such reasons as, the applicant “doesn’t have the right qualifications” or “isn’t a good fit” for the position are really just code for personal biases. If we are to truly be an inclusive and welcoming community that wants to grow our cultural mosaic, employers need to park their prejudices at the door and base hiring decisions on merits and skills.

Just Posted

Council tags two more Oak Bay homes for bylaw infringement

Monterey homeowner covers front yard in gravel and stone

Federal Election 2019: What you need to know in the Victoria riding

Meet your candidates and more information on how to cast your ballot

Greater Victoria developer rushes to demolish historic wall before Oak Bay applies heritage permit

Abstract Development punches holes in one of Oak Bay’s oldest stone walls

Rent-to-own project welcomes first tenants in Langford

Crossing at Belmont is part of a rent-to-own program subsidized by the City of Langford

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Most Read